Understanding Drugstore Cosmetics: Beauty on a Budget

free-makeup-samplesUnderstanding Drugstore Cosmetics: Beauty on a Budget

Written by Flisadam Pointer

As the boom of beauty gurus available at your digital fingertips via major online video sources such as YouTube continues to grow, achieving some of Hollywood’s hottest looks are now easier than ever! Before you rush to your local drugstore’s cosmetic aisle here are some basic tips to guide you while you shop beauty on a budget.



Aside from cosmetic brushes, primers are the most important items in your makeup collection. Primers serve a dual purpose. The first of which is to protect your pores from clogging with the numerous products you wear daily which in most cases lead to breakouts. The second purpose of a primer is to create a barrier between your skin and your makeup. Essentially acting as a canvas for the perfect makeup application. Primers commonly found in drugstores are available in two formats, gel and lotion. For makeup newbies, the transparent primer gels such as NYX Cosmetics Perfect Primer is easy to use. For the more frequent makeup wearers, New York Color commonly referred to as NYC Cosmetics’ Color Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer is a better choice.


One of the most common mistakes made by makeup newbies are wildly defined eyebrows. With three types of products used to enhance the eyebrow, let’s first understand what each opinion is best used for. First, the most commonly used product for eyebrow enhancing available in all drugstores is the eyeliner/eyebrow pencil. Eyebrow pencils are the most affordable drugstore options.  Eyebrow pencils are great for every level makeup users. Next, eyebrow enhancing wax seen in Wet N Wild’s Ultimate Brow Kit, is not beginner friendly but on the other hand provides the longest wear. The last option for eyebrow enhancing available in some drugstores is eyebrow gel. Eyebrow gel is usually packaged in a small circular container similar to gel eye shadow. To avoid overly dramatic eyebrows for an everyday use, stay away from using black pencil, wax or gel. Using black as a eyebrow enhancer creates a harsh look. For a more natural look, use black/brown, dark brown or the color closest to your actual eyebrow color. For makeup newbies that may not have the experience of creating an eyebrow arc freehand, Eyes Lips Face or ELF cosmetics does sell a eyebrow stencil kit that can be used with your choice of eyebrow enhancing product.


Eyeshadows will forever remain a makeup favorite. Eyeshadows allows you the freedom to create limitless looks! As the most commonly purchased drugstore cosmetic, drugstore eyeshadows are tricky. Reviewed as one of the leaders in drug shadows Wet N Wild, famous for their 6 span eyeshadow collections, powder eyeshadows purchased through at the drugstore may not always last as long or be as pigmented as desired but the trick is to apply a white eyeshadow base (or eyeliner pencil) before applying the eyeshadow to retain color.  Not as popular as powder eyeshadow, creme eyeshadow not beginner friendly, allows you to create create red carpet eyes for a fraction of the price.


The center of every beauty look no matter the inspiration without the proper foundation, will fall flat. The purpose of foundation is to create a flawless glow. Do not rush into purchasing any one foundation based on reviews or recommendations. Your foundation is what ties all your makeup together. To avoid bad purchases, visit your nearest chain cosmetics store and ask a professional makeup artist to find your foundation color. This foundation number is crucial in comparing foundation colors in the drugstore. Major chain drugstores have done an outstanding job providing a large selection pool for all skin tones when it comes to foundation. With powder, creme, creme to powder and liquid foundation available in almost all the cosmetic brands sold in your local drugstore. Let’s under each type of foundation. Liquid foundation, best used in the winter, provides a light full coverage layer of correction to dark spots, scars and more. Powder foundation, best used in the spring or fall, creates a matte finish to your skins appearance. Creme foundation, which contains large amounts of wax, best used in the summer although it is the heaviest foundation, cream foundation serves as a foundation and concealer. Lastly, creme to powder foundation, is fairly new but has caught on fast. Creme to powder foundation is great all year round but is the most experience.


False eyelashes extensions’ popularity seems to have grown over-night amongst makeup budgetistas. Whether you’re going for a natural or a more vibrant look, the trick is to understand which type of eyelashes would serve you best. Many drugstore cosmetic brands offer wide varieties of false eyelashes however there are only types available, strips and individuals. Strip lashes are best used for one-time wear. For example, a night on the town, a formal ball and/or graduation photos. Individuals lashes False eyelashes similar to hair extensions are made out of either synthetic fibers or human hair. What’s the difference between the two? Human hair false eyelashes are flame resistant.  For many false eyelash manufacturers, a tube of eyelash glue is included in the package but to get more use out of your lashes use clear glue. Clear eyelash glue goes on white, once dry seals as transparent.


Finally the pièce de résistance! After working hard to achieve your desired look you may be worry throughout the day, “is my makeup fading?” To preserve a look, finish off your look with a light amount of setter. There are many types of setters sold in major cosmetics stores such as Sephora or MAC. Unfortunately there is only one type of setter widely available at chain drugstores, powder. Using a foundation brush, lightly sweep your setter powder over your face. Allow the powder to settle. Now you are ready for a full night out on the town or a day of errands.


Remember, beauty is pain but it doesn’t have to put a hurting on your wallet.

Did you find this article helpful? Send us photos of your finished beauty look to the Black Voice Carta Latina Facebook fan page, Twitter profile or email BVCLrutgers@gmail.com.

In case of irritation, remove all make-up with an alcohol-free remove liquid of your choice or with a fragrance-free face soap and warm water. Keep out of eyes. If irritation lasts longer than 48 hours, please consult with your physician.



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